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Coming Up Short: The Need for Nurses

Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor, Monday, October 5, 2015

Nursing School Hub shared its newest infographic explaining the need for nurses with The Society.

Nursing School Hub was formed  to provide useful information and resources to those interested in the field of Nursing. Nursing is a rapidly growing field with many promising opportunities for employment. The Nursing School Hub staff felt it was important to create a site that provides accurate information to help those interested in nursing to make an informed decision about what nursing job suits them and where to go to school.

Over the next decade, it is predicted the U.S. will see a significant shortage of nurses in the healthcare industry. As many nurses retire, their shoes of many of them aren’t being filled. With the need for qualified nurses expanding each year, how can we combat the coming scarcity of well-trained RNs?

The Need for Nurses

Tags:  nurse  nurses  nursing  WOC nurse 

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WTA Program: A Valuable Tool

Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor, Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Written by: Angel Sutton, MSN/Ed, RN, CWCN, CCCN, CFCN

Pressure ulcers can be a challenge to treat and manage in the long-term care setting. Many skilled nursing facilities do not have a wound care specialist, or even a staff member trained in wounds. The lack of certified wound care professionals in these facilities can lead to an increase in the following:

*        Complications from pressure ulcers.

*        Hospitalizations/Re-hospitalizations.

*        Prevalence of amputations.

*        Risk of death.

Life Care Centers of America, Inc., (LCCA) is a long-term care community of over 200 skilled nursing facilities in 28 states from Boston, Massachusetts to Hilo, Hawaii. LCCA is dedicated to providing the most advanced care to the residents and is specializing in the field of wound care to better meet the needs of the resident for both long-term and short-stays. When considering solutions for staff education in relation to wound care, all options available were considered. After analysis, LCCA has chosen to invest in and to adopt the Wound Treatment Associate (WTA) Program to be the platform for wound care training across the country in all of our facilities. The WTA Program is recognized by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN®) to provide additional wound training and skills to staff that focus on direct care. The Society is shaping the future of nursing in the WOC area, it was a logical choice to ensure that our nurses, and other clinicians, would receive quality education in relation to prevention and treatment of all types of wounds.

Many other factors led to our decision to adopt the WTA Program as our standard education program for wound education. Life Care reviewed several other certification and wound training courses and decided that the WTA Program would best meet our needs since the course is completed online at the center. The course content allows flexibility in the scheduling to allow more associates to be able to participate in the course. The course content is applicable to our setting of long-term care and the course is taken by nurses, therapist, and some of our physicians. We felt that have a multidisciplinary approach to wound care training helped all team members learn the same content and helped with congealing the wound teams. The training course has greatly improved our skill level and confidence from our wound team clinicians by engaging many members of the team more interventions and treatment options have been reviewed and wound healing rates have increased.

LCCA began the WTA Program in July 2014 to provide additional wound training to its associates (which also include allied health clinicians and physicians) and to date has had over 450 participants. We have found the program to be an invaluable tool in equipping our staff.

Complete content presented through the following poster:

Sutton, A, & Greene, R.B. (2015). Advancing skill set for wound care in the long-term care setting WOCN/W.T.A. wound treatment associate program. Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society, San Antonio, Texas.

Tags:  woc nurse  WOCN  WTA  wta program 

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Guest Bloggers Highlight Experience at Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF)

Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor, Tuesday, August 18, 2015

WOCN Society members Debbie Ritter and Sue Kennedy guest blog and highlight their recent experience at the Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF) Conference in Orlando, Florida.

We recently had the opportunity to represent WOCN Society by staffing an exhibit booth at the Home Care Association of Florida (HCAF) Conference in Orlando, Florida. As first-time conference exhibitors it was interesting to be "on the other side of the table," and we were a bit nervous about the role switch.

Although we believed that we were well prepared, we wondered whether our booth would generate enough interest to have people stop, and if so, what their interest level would be.

We were pleasantly surprised to learn that many of the attendees had made the exhibit a priority as their first stop after reading the list of exhibitors. For those who did not plan ahead of time, the WTA and CEC banners generated a high level of interest among the "foot traffic" and many attendees stopped to inquire about the WTA program and how this program would fit into their education strategy.

The level of interest fell mostly into two categories:

a) As a field clinician, how would this program and certification assist me to bring a higher level of care to my patients and enhance my employment opportunities and;

b) As a Branch Manager, DON, or Administrator, how would this program improve our outcomes, boost our referrals and what type of return on investment might we realize.

Overall, the two issues that were most exciting to the attendees were the opportunity for certification which will be offered in the fall through the WOCNCB and the value of the program as compared to other wound certification programs.

It was a great opportunity to explain how the WOCN Society has developed a comprehensive and evidence based program that is applicable across the continuum of health care, and provides standardized education while promoting continuity of patient care. Also, it was encouraging to see the high level of interest from clinicians and managers who recognize the impact of the program as it relates to ICD 10 coding and the changing reimbursement climate among Medicare and other insurers.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  HCAF  nursing  woc nurse  WOCN 

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WOCN Society Video Tutorials

Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor, Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Are you new to the WOCN® Society? Are you an existing member who has started to navigate the Society’s website and have a few questions on how to use its many tools? We have the solution for both situations!

The WOCN Society has newly updated Website Video Tutorials that teach all members, new and existing, how to use the features on From login management to posting in a forum to accessing the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing, there is a video for everything. By viewing these short, informative tutorials, you will be able to see and utilize the members-only opportunities available online.

To start watching these great videos, click here.

Tutorials are available for these topics:

Tags:  member benefits  members' only forums  membership  WOCN  wocn society 

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Guided Nursing Electives----Wound Care at Roper Hospital

Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor, Thursday, July 30, 2015

The following post was written by Xiang Liu, a student at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Ever since I enrolled in the BSN program, I have heard a lot about specialized nursing. I became interested in wound care right after I did my first “wet to dry” dressing change in the Simulation lab.

Wound care is a science and is accompanied by its own pathology, language, nursing skill set and patient education. Fortunately, the Guided Nursing Electives course at Medical University of South Carolina gave me an opportunity to better understand wound care, and I was blessed with wonderful mentors and preceptors who provided me with a great start for becoming a wound care nurse.

By working with my mentor at Roper Hospital, SC, I saw a variety of wounds, I acquired knowledge and skills relative to management of wounds, incisions, skin ulcers and ostomies. I noted the different types of dressings and the different practices in day to day performance. I realized how medical complications could be prevented by providing patient education and by simply proper hand washing and infection control.  I observed how my mentor changed dressings, how she handled wounds; more importantly, I was fascinated by how she interacts with patients, patients’ families and how she applies her global nursing skills. She is not only a great role model for wound care, she is also a role model to me personally with respect to becoming an excellent nurse in general. 

I have gained additional learning experiences in this rotation.

First of all, I became familiar with ostomy and continence management. When I first studied ostomies, I believed no surgical procedure created more misunderstanding and fear than this one does. Through the time with my mentor, I gained a wealth of knowledge related to ostomy care).  First I learned that ostomies are not only from some colon cancer procedures, other bowel diseases such as diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease and even traumatic injury to the bowels may also require an ostomy. I learned that an ostomy can be temporary or permanent. I learned that there are a variety of ostomy procedures including colostomy and ileostomy depending on the location of the disease. I learned how to manage the stoma as well as pouches. On top of this, I realized how important it is for an ostomy nurse to be present for pre- and post-surgical management of the patient.

Every Monday morning, I followed my mentor to mark the stoma sites for the patients who were scheduled to have bowel surgery. We assessed their abdomen in order to decide where the stoma should be. We made every effort to help the doctor create the stoma in an area that the patient can easily see, reach and take care of. Stoma site selection was a priority during the preoperative preparation; it helps to reduce postoperative problems including leakage, skin irritation, and clothing concerns. Furthermore, we also assist patients and their family in understanding about stoma care and the use of ostomy appliances prior to surgery.

Having an ostomy is a life changing experience for many patients, but patients should still be able to work, play sports, and exercise. This indicates another important role of an ostomy nurse: an ostomy nurse is the one who provides continuous personalized care for the best outcome possible; we are the one who guides the patient to maintain their healthy active lifestyle.

At the end, I was so fortunate and was privileged to observe the physician (Dr. Lagares-Garcia) performing laparoscopic robotic bowel surgery.  This helped me to integrate my experiences and knowledge into a complete picture and was invaluable.

Second, I learned that excellent wound care means treating the whole patient, not just the wound. For example, we had a patient who was young but had an abscess that refused to heal. The patient has a long history of diabetes and obesity.   During the conversation with him, my mentor identified several inconsistencies:  the patient stated that he was living with his sister, but when he was asked if he has been checking his blood sugar routinely, he said he has been using his brother’s glucose meter.  We understand that people with diabetes often have poor circulation which causes slow healing. My mentor suspected that his blood sugar had not been well controlled which was contributing to his poor wound healing process. “No fancy dressing could help his wound, if he doesn’t treat his underlying problem”, my mentor said. Understanding these interlinked causes, a diabetic educator was suggested to facilitate him controlling his weight and to regain control of his diabetes. Successful treatment of difficult wounds requires assessment of the entire patient. Systemic problems impair wound healing, in fact, non-healing wounds may reveal systemic pathologies.

Third, the term 'palliative care' is used to describe care given to patients with advanced, life-limiting illness. The palliative care goals are then transferred to wound care for patients whose wounds do not heal. We had a patient who was 89 year old with a complicated medical history: above the knee amputations on both legs, diabetes mellitus, peripheral vascular disease, dementia, malnutrition, and problems with swallowing. The patient had multiple ulcers staged from I to IV. A couple of her ulcers were undermining and/or tunneling.  Based on the patient’s situation, my mentor suggested that the Palliative Wound Management might be more appropriate on this patient. She explained, “With the patient physical condition like this, aggressive wound treatment is not the priority intervention since the healing is not the primary goal. The goals of current wound care intervention (called palliative wound care) are stabilization of existing wounds, prevention of new wounds and symptom management.”

Finally, I discovered that finding new methods to improve wound healing have a great value in the clinical settings. This is another reason that I have passion for wound care since I have many years of research training in cancer biology. Specifically I believe that wound care is a clinical area that requires critical thinking and experimental approaches. Although there are a wide range of topical management options in wound management, choosing the most appropriate dressing makes a huge difference on the process of healing. Moreover, patients with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease, paralysis and many other illnesses contribute to wounds development that needs specialized care. “Effective dressing requires a stable “base”, my mentor said, implementation of personalized topical therapeutics guided by molecular diagnosis may result in significant improvements in outcome and my expertise in examining biological problems and finding solutions promotes me to be very interested in the science of wound care.

Overall, my experience in wound, ostomy and continence during the Guided Nursing Electives has given me an opportunity to witness how and what the WOC nurse should be and to understand the importance of treating the whole patient during wound care therapy. Wound care nurses must possess specialized wound care knowledge as well as a solid understanding of general nursing concepts, patient care, anatomy and physiology, and even psychological aspects of the patient. Wound care nurses are an extremely important part of the treatment team who make an enormous difference in the quality of patients’ lives by delivering expert care to individuals with wounds, ostomies and incontinence and by provide continuous care to help patients return to daily life and healthy lifestyles.

By writing this reflection paper, I am sharing how the experience improved my knowledge of wound care, and more significantly how it impacts my belief that nurses can make changes. 

Before attending nursing school, I spent 15 years carrying out human disease related diagnostic and preclinical drug development research. This research provided me with a strong medical science background, but also has led to my realization that findings from basic research need translation into practical applications to prevent, diagnose and treat human disease. In my opinion, more than any other healthcare profession, nurses know what patients need, know what to do to meet those needs and how to make a difference. Having now graduated with my BSN, coupled with my previous research training, enables me to apply critical thinking skills to clinical settings. This integration raises me to a higher level allowing me to address complex questions and problems in critical care, especially in improving healthcare outcomes and preventing disease.


Tags:  BSN  nursing  nursing student  WOC nurse  woc student  WOCN 

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